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Mystery Luthier

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrphattay, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Hi BT contributors.
    I'm looking for some info on a Mystery Luthier.
    A few years back I purchased second-hand, a very fine P/J configured Bass built by an obscure Luthier (to me) by the name of Joseph Zaukus (Spelling of Name might be slightly off).
    Does anyone know anything about this guy ?
    I think the seller said that J. Zaukus set up shop in the Mid-west, possibly in the Chicago area, but I'm not completely sure of this.He supposedly worked at one time for PRS guitars & KT guitars. (KT guitars ??). This fellow really makes a very nice instrument and I was curious if he's still producing. Any info out there ? Thnks. -Bill
  2. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    There is a Gary Ziminicki in Allen Park, MI. He builds archtops and acoustics. Great looking stuff I've seen his work at some of the gutiar shows. I don't have a web page but do have a phone # 313-381-2817
  3. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Thanks Burk.
    But No, It's spelled Zaukus ..or very close to it. The Script sig. on headstock isn't 100% legible. But appears to be Z-A-U-K-U-S.
    Again thanks for taking the time. It's appreciated.
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Any luck here? I saw a KT bass for sale local (Baltimore) that looked REALLY nice but I have no idea who KT guitars is/are. Curious if you dug up any more info on this luthier or KT guitars. It was a neck thru prob made in the 80's (just a guess) that had a P/J setup with a birdeye maple neck. It was in good to almost great shape (prob a solid 7 out of 10). I could have had it for $550. Again, with no info on the company or Luthier, I passed on it, but if somebody provides some info and it's good, I may go get it...
  5. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Hi. Thanks for the contribution.
    Haven't found out anything further on either (Zaukus or KT).
    Figured I'll take a shot with this thread. Infact, yours is the only other reference I heard to KT.
    Congratulations, you might have solved one aspect of this Mystery. Since my memory is very imprecise re: location of luthier, Baltimore might be a much better starting point. The guy who sold me the Bass was from Baltimore & it was shipped from there. So maybe he's a local Luthier from Baltimore & not the Mid-West, as I had thought.
    My Bass is a 4string Bolt-On (P/J EMGs). The top is exceptionally flamed Koa or tiger Maple. (Was told Maple...but looks like highly flamed koa to me. ???). It's in a beautiful honey amber finish. The Bass is signed Joseph Zaukus in script on headstock, with serial number and original owner's name on reverse. This appears to be a one-off for a specific client. If I hear anything further down the road on KT, I'll be sure to let you know. Who knows ? Maybe a fellow TB'r reading this will jump-in with an update.
    The plot thickens. Any Holmes wannabes out there with the elementary answers ?
  6. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Where there used to be a luthier or builder in the area that I actually visited when I was about 15 and just started getting into guitars and basses. As I recall from wwwwway back then ('82), they were in "Dickeysville, MD" (yes, that's a real place :)) and they had some really cool, very custom stuff that they were building. Not sure if it was KT or not as I can't recall the name of the company, but good chance it may have been. PRS is also in the area, but between Balt and DC. Yes this KT bass was (and prob still is) for sale locally. This one has an "M" on the headstock. I'll go look at it again assuming it's still there and try to ask some locals about "KT Guitars".
  7. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Found this online. Might be him...

    Joseph Zaukus
    4372 Cambridge Dr
    Antioch, TN 37013
    (615) 501 - 9242
  8. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Can you post a pic of your bass? I want to see if it resembles the one that I saw for sale here.
  9. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Was unable to post photos. The resolution of photos apparently make it too large. Am emailing you a few shots, per your request.
  10. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    If still interested in photos, Pls supply email address so I can zip the file to you.
  11. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    PM sent to you bud!
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    KT was a high end Maryland builder back in the early 80's (along with Paul Reed Smith). Had a very cool shop in an old mill. I got turned onto them by Scott Ambush of Spyro Gyra. They turned out some very high quality instruments. Owned one of their basses, very nice stuff for it's day. There's very little info available about them for some reason. KT stood for Mike Koontz (sp?) and John Thurston. I know John is still working with instruments, not sure about Mike. Never asked what happened.
    B-Bake likes this.
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    That's how I got my first Tobias... no one knew of Mike in the late 70's and I took a chance on a very cool bass;)
  14. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Holy crap, that's where I went, the old mill that was in Dickyville (near Woodlawn). I was like 15 or so then. I was just a kid with no money (and they knew it) and they showed me their shop and guitars, etc. Nice guys! I may go get that KT if it's still there where I saw it!
  15. mrphattay

    mrphattay Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Thanks Brad.
    KT aspect solved !
    Very good of you to contribute. I think we're getting closer to solving this puzzle, clue by clue. The Hounds are afoot, Watson.
  16. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I may try to track down one of the KT guys for ya.
  17. va6strings


    Oct 6, 2009
    I'm mostly a guitar player and this thread is more than a few years old, but I own a very sweet KT guitar. I bought it new from Chuck Levin's in Rockville MD around 1985. I played it against all of the Fender Strats they had and I liked it best. They told me it was the only KT they had and it was a prototype of what these guys were starting to build.

    Flash forward over 20 yrs - it is still a high quality instrument and I've kept it in pristine condition. I heard that one of the builders had passed away and I was sorry to hear that. If anyone hears of the other, I would love to talk to him for a few minutes and would love to show him the guitar.

  18. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    No pics, no guitar.......:cool:
    B-Bake likes this.
  19. sacbill


    Oct 28, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I know this is an old post, but as a recent member of TB, I just came across it. I, myself, worked for KT for about a year, and am still in touch with John Thurston. He's doing top-notch repair / refinishing work in the San Antonio/Austin area.

    The company went out of business in 1985. Mike Koontz got out doing the luthier thing entirely after the company went out of business; I don't know if he picked it up again.

    The KT is a great guitar or bass (some nice examples out there); if you have one, count yourself lucky. :hyper:

    I have a Strat that I built while I worked there. It's a hodgepodge of parts, but the coolest thing about it is the neck: it's a solid piece of Diamondwood, an artificial wood laminate used to make furniture. It's something Mike K was working on...incredibly stable material, with great sustain. I can post pics if anyone's interested.

    Feel free to drop me a private message if you're interested in any more info about the company.
    B-Bake likes this.
  20. cuppajoemusic


    Mar 22, 2009
    I have a KT from the 80's. I had an Alembic long scale and the KT feels like it. It was made by Baltimorian's Koontz/Thurston. These were built before PRS became famous. A P-Bass and Jazz Pickups. Neck through the body. Heavy but plays faster than Ric or PJ,
    Joe Macre
    B-Bake likes this.